Homocysteine & Women’s Health

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Homocysteine & Women’s Health

Homocysteine is a thio-containing amino acid produced by the intracellular demethylation of methionine.  Elevated levels of homocysteine (hyperhomocysteinemia) is more common in women than in men and is associated with a wide array of illnesses.  It has also been proven to cause several problems in women including: cardiovascular disease (CVD), colon cancer, pregnancy complications, and birth defects. 

Cardiovascular Disease

Elevated levels of circulating homocysteine correlates with an increased risk of vascular occlusion (blockage of a blood vessel).  Hyperhomocysteinemia can cause inflammation of the endothelium (thin layer of cells linking the interior blood vessels).  Failure to lower homocysteine levels can cause further inflammation of the arteries, veins, and capillaries causing atherosclerosis.  Consequently, blood and oxygen supply to tissues is reduced, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Elevated levels correlates with higher diastolic and systolic blood pressure, hypertension.  However, this correlation is stronger in women than in men.  Women with elevated levels of homocysteine have a 3-fold increased risk of CVD, whereas men have a 2-fold increased risk.

Colon Cancer

Women with hyperhomocysteinemia have an increased risk of colorectal cancer than women with lower levels.   Women who present with the highest levels of homocysteine have more than a 70% increased colorectal cancer risk.  A correlation between reduced levels of folate and increased levels of homocysteine have been found in women with colorectal adenoma.  It is recommended that women with hyperhomocysteinemia and reduced levels of folate should increase their intake of fruit and vegetables to reduce their levels of homocysteine and increase their levels of folate.

Pregnancy Complications and Birth Defects

Homocysteine levels should decline during pregnancy, however, in some cases, levels increase.  Hyperhomocysteinemia is associated with foetal neural tube defects which causes various conditions, characterised by placental vasculopathy, including pre-eclampsia, abruption, and recurrent pregnancy loss.  It has been identified that folate supplementation can half the risk of foetal neural tube defects.  One study found that hyperhomocysteinemia was associated with a 2-fold to 3-fold increased risk for pregnancy-induced hypertension, abrupyio placentae, and intrauterine growth restriction.

Randox Homocysteine Reagent

The Randox Homocysteine assay offers a few unique features:

  • Limited interference from Bilirubin, Haemoglobin, Triglycerides, and Intralipid, producing more accurate and precise results.
  • Two-reagent format for convenience and ease of use
  • Calibrator provided with kit, simplifying the ordering process

Other features include:

  • Liquid ready-to-use reagents – for optimum user experience
  • Excellent linearity – 47. 9 μmol/L, ensuring abnormally high levels of homocysteine are detected.
  • Enzymatic method
  • Tri-level cardiac control available

If you are a clinician or laboratory who are interested in running assays for women’s health, Randox offer a range of high-quality routine and niche assays including: Adiponectin, Cystatin C, Lipoprotein (a), and Zinc which can be used to diagnose conditions commonly affecting women.  These assays can be run on most automated biochemistry analysers.

Instrument Specific Applications (ISA’s) are available for a wide range of biochemistry analysers. Contact us to enquire about your specific analyser.

For more information, visit: https://www.randox.com/homocysteine or email: reagents@randox.com